Letter: U.S. electorate needs a civics lesson

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I applaud Halsey Frank’s recent column, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

I would add that I heard a quote recently: “Democracy requires wisdom.” This means that all citizens need to be well-versed, not only the current local, state and national issues, but also in our system of government, state and national. Our Founding Fathers devised an ingenious system of checks and balances, of which, sadly, many in the electorate know little or nothing. Learning what used to be called “civics” needs to be given the priority it needs in our schools. It is the responsibility of the electorate to understand how our government works.

In years prior, the primary attitude of the electorate is that this is the system of government we have, that it was devised with considerable foresight and intelligence. It’s not perfect, but, we’re going to use it wisely and attempt any changes with great care, skepticism and awareness of unforeseen consequences.

Nowadays, in this “have-it-your-way” society, we want to do for government what we do for hamburgers; hence referenda, which ought to be an absolutely last resort, used rarely, rather than commonplace, as is the case now.

Dan Strauss
Brunswick 

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